Province encourages 'supervised self-swabbing' for front line and essential workers
Ontario is making it easier for businesses to test for COVID-19 in the workplace.
The province is providing guidance to employees who want to self-swab for a rapid antigen point-of-care test on a voluntary basis under the supervision of a trained individual.
"Our government is committed to providing greater flexibility and innovative testing options for additional sectors to help stop the spread of COVID-19," says Christine Elliott, deputy premier and minister of health.
"By providing guidance for voluntary, supervised self-swabbing, frontline and essential workers can have quicker and easier access to testing and have an additional layer of protection."
After the success of the initial deployment of rapid antigen testing, the government is expanding the Provincial Antigen Screening Program to cover first responders, emergency medical services, trucking and transportation, wastewater management and post-secondary institutions.
Introduced in November as a pilot, the program deployed rapid antigen point-of-care tests to essential workplaces and sectors to quickly identify and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The province has since deployed over three million rapid antigen point-of-care tests to priority sectors, including long-term care and retirement homes, congregate care settings such as adult correctional facilities, and essential industries such as food processing, manufacturing, and construction sites.
Rapid antigen point-of-care tests have also been deployed to support asymptomatic testing of staff and students in schools across the province.
However, rapid tests should not replace precautionary measures against COVID-19, says Kelly O’Ferrall, a labour and employment lawyer at Osler in Toronto.